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Full text of "NightRider"

103

an anonymous letter in his mailbox the morning after
Christmas. "Attached to a bundle of willow switches," the
clipping said, " was a note in childish or illiterate penman-
ship which read as follows: ' This is whut Santy Claws brings
bad littul boys whut aim got sense to keep frum running off
at the mouth and holes there terbacco but dont join the
Assoc.3 Mr. Sullins has stated that he attaches no importance
to the message and is not one to be intimidated, and the
Edgerton Messenger must strongly endorse and applaud the
attitude of Mr. Sullins and condemn the cowardice of those
who send unsigned communications. However, Mr. Sullins
has also stated that he believes the incident to be some child-
ish prank committed by boys who have heard their parents
comment on his attitude toward the Association of Growers
of Dark Fired Tobacco. The Edgerton Messenger hopes that
this is the true case."

"A childish prank," Mr. Burden had said meditatively,
lifting his dark, untidy-looking head.

" Now it looks to me," Mr. Christian had observed, " folks
in the Allen Settlement section have got some right forward
and thriving children. Bet they was born feet-first and grind-
ing their teeth."

"No," Mr. Burden had said in his slow voice, "no, it
wasn't children did it. Some poor farmer had a bad Christ-
mas. The Association is seeing folks through the best it can,
but the best ain't a whoop and a holler better'n sowbelly for
most. Not for some poor man with a few thousand pounds
with us. What kind of an advance can he get? Not Christ-
mas fixings."

" He must think of the future," Mr. Sills had answered.

"But he has a bad Christmas and there ain't much for the
kids and he catches his wife off in the kitchen crying a little
and one of his kids tells him what the Sullins children got
for Christmas—how* the Sullins boy came down the road
with a new rifle, maybe—and he figures Sullins has been
selling oS some tobacco to run on, and at the price made
because the Association was holding out. Then he stomps off